Linda Catlin Smith: Meadow review – Deeply meditative

The first in Louth Contemporary Music Society’s series of pandemic recordings

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Artist: Linda Catlin Smith
Genre: Classical
Label: Louth Contemporary Music Society LCMS20201

This new CD is the first in Louth Contemporary Music Society's new Out of Silence series – recordings made during the pandemic of music by "composers attuned to the intricacies of silence as much as sound". New York-born, Toronto-based Linda Catlin Smith explains Meadow, the title of her new, 33-minute string trio: "A meadow is a simple place, with elements that are there quite naturally; it's not a spectacular garden, but if you look closely there are many different types of plants and tiny flowers. It is a place of infinite variation."

Her writing in Meadow is at times almost self-effacing (“I try to keep myself out of it, and let it just be”), but she is always there, nurturing the grainy textures of vibrato-shy lines as they weave in and out of alignment like blades of grass in a gentle breeze. The style is drifting rather than driven, as she conjures mostly mildly dissonant, only rarely resonant harmonies to enliven the pastel colours of the three instruments in slow motion.

Mia Cooper (violin), Joachim Roewer (viola) and William Butt (cello) play with a tactful reserve that serves to highlight the occasional moments of glowing warmth or severe discordant tension in this deeply meditative work.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor